Nonfiction November 2013: Become the Expert

NonfictionNov2013Have you seen what Kim of Sophisticated Dorkiness and Leslie of Regular Rumination are doing this month? They’re dedicating their reading to nonfiction and hosting a series of weekly discussion topics to get us all involved. I missed last week, but thought I’d join the discussion this week.

Be the Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert: Share a list of nonfiction books on a topic you know a lot about. Or, ask for some advice for books on a particular topic. Or, put together a list of nonfiction books on a topic you’re curious about.

I get a lot of review requests for books about dogs…perhaps because my blog features that header of my dog Caribou and her friend Argus! At any rate, I don’t accept them all because I like to read about a lot of subjects (not just dogs!). That said, once in awhile I can’t resist a nonfiction book which focuses on the dog…especially the working dog. With my background in canine search and rescue, I tend to be more critical of these kinds of books…so when I read a particularly great book on the subject, I get really excited!

Here are three of the best books I’ve read about the dog with a focus on the working dog:

WhatTheDogKnowsWhat the Dog Knows: The Science and Wonder of Working Dogs by Cat Warren

Warren owns a certified cadaver dog and shares her experiences on her journey through the murky world of finding the dead. But she also makes room in her fantastic book for information about all working dogs, including military service, law enforcement, and search and rescue.

What the Dog Knows is part memoir and part science, it is Warren’s unswerving journey with a bigger-than-life dog as they go from novices to professionals in the world of the working K9. The book is highly researched and examines the science of the dog’s nose to better understand how dogs do what they do in law enforcement, the military, search and rescue, and other areas. Warren shares what has been discovered about the chemical composition of decomposing bodies, the unsuccessful attempts to create an artificial nose, and efforts to pinpoint ancient graves…among other my full review here.

ScentOfTheMissingScent of the Missing by Susannah Charleson

Charleson certified a search and rescue (SAR) dog with the Metro Area Rescue K9 unit in Dallas, Texas and Scent of the Missing is her story of that journey with Golden Retriever Puzzle by her side.

[Charleson]…writes from the heart, but it is never sappy or overly emotional. Her prose is descriptive, intuitive, and honest. She writes about the big searches (like the search for human remains following the Columbia tragedy), but she also gives the reader details of the “small” searches, the searches that no one ever hears of except in the small town with a child or adult go my full review here.

BeingWithAnimalsBeing With Animals by Barbara J. King

Unlike the previous two titles, King’s book is not restricted to dogs, but instead looks at all animals and our special relationship with them. I felt like King’s well-researched book offers much to those readers interested in working dogs because it established the basis of our shared experiences with other animals as well.

Being with Animals is a fascinating and important book about our history and experience with animals. As humans, we share our homes with animals, but we also relate to them on religious and spiritual levels as well. Animals not only help us in our work, they provide companionship and unconditional love. Barbara King knowledgeably provides the reader with a plethora of well-researched information that helps define not only why animals are so important to humans, but how that relationship has evolved across time and cultures. Being with Animals narrows the gap between humans and animals, and reminds us of what we share vs. what separates us. read my full review here.

Have you read any wonderful books about dogs, our relationship with them, or the working canine? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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  1. I am always fascinated by how rescue dogs are trained–I think that would be an incredible job to have. I actually just read an article in a recent Smithsonian magazine about how bomb-sniffing dogs are trained. Scent of the Missing sounds good!

    • Melissa on November 13, 2013 at 15:28

    I love it! I actually don’t read too many nonfiction books about animals because when I do I’m a total sucker who always ends up crying. 😉

  2. This is such a cool list, on a topic I would have never really thought to read about. What the Dog Knows sound like just my kind of read — I’m hoping I can find a copy.

    • Lu on November 13, 2013 at 19:39

    Ooh, such a good list! Michael and I have been dreaming about owning a dog for forever and I can’t wait until our living situation allows for one. Maybe I will have to be content to read nonfiction books about dogs? Especially What the Dog Knows!

    • Tanya on November 14, 2013 at 03:12

    Glad to hear that more people are joining Non Fiction November. I love the idea and have been following what everyone has to say. My TBR list is growing steadily.

  3. I’m allergic to dogs and still manage to retain an absolute fascination with search and rescue dogs. Thanks for these titles!

    • Sarah on November 16, 2013 at 23:18

    What a great topic and fascinating topic! I come from a rural New Zealand background, so I’ve read or have to-read a few lovely looking books on working farm dogs. I’d love to pick up a few on search and rescue dogs – Quake Dogs, by Laura Sessions has just been released here and looks great.

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